In the last part, we looked at DC and the independents. Here in part two, we see what Marvel had to offer this past week. Includes DAREDEVIL #14, THE PUNISHER #12, WINTER SOLDIER #7, and AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #6.
In DAREDEVIL #14, the Omega Drive may be in the hands of good, but it was originally going to someone before it fell into the hands of the Man Without Fear. Namely Chancellor Beltane, Latvarian bank minister for Doctor Doom, and he’s very angry about the loss of revenue Latvaria suffers now that they cannot filter Megacrime’s assets through Latvarian banks. Which finally explains what the Omega Drive was for in the first place, as well as why it came on a modified Fantastic Four insignia. So at the end of the last issue, Daredevil got teleported into Latvaria to answer for his “crimes”.
And then they let him go. Or do they? It all involves gassing and nanomachines and Daredevil’s super senses. Just know the Man Without Fear gets to go through a scenic running tour of the European micronation. By force.
We also advance the Foggy Nelson subplot, with Murdock’s partner in law claiming to no longer trust Matt because of what he found in his desk drawer. What’s in the drawer? Still no idea, but it’s implied to go back to when Daredevil stopped the Mole Man from stealing corpses. And you thought that issue was just filler!
Moving right along, THE PUNISHER #12 serves mostly to tie up the loose ends from the Omega Drive storyline and to develop some characters. Particularly Cole-Alves, female Punisher and Castle’s protege. I don’t think I could explain the plot without ruining the moment, so I’ll just say Castle thinks Cole-Alves isn’t acting like a real Punisher, and needs to teach her a lesson. What does the Punisher use to teach such lessons?
Punching of course! There’s a fair bit of fisticuffs in this issue, most of it in the rain. Between the rain and the blood, we get a sad and tragic moment between the two. Castle has ceased to be merely a murderous vigilante. He’s a murderous vigilante with skills to pass on…
I just realized something. And I mean I thought of it as I write this post. Could Marvel be aiming to make Cole-Alves the new Punisher…just so there’s someone around to replace Castle when they kill him off? Because the Punisher has never really been one to pick up a sidekick. That would defeat the purpose of his solitary, angry existence. Me thinks Marvel aims to off the old Punisher to make way for a new one. It’s just a theory, but it’s one that gnaws at me, because it makes too much sense they way the series has been going.
We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?
After the previous issue introducing us to Leo Novokov, the third soviet sleeper agent lost due to an earthquake, WINTER SOLDIER #7 introduces us to Leo’s killing spree. His memory recently returned, Novokov is gunning for his former teacher, the Winter Soldier. And his plans involve a stolen motor home, a bunch of explosives, and a kidnapped former soviet scientist with expertise in brainwashing and programming.
There are plenty of fight scenes and a car chase (of sorts), but other than that there’s not a whole lot to talk about. I have this problem with good comics, which made this post pretty light. Well, up until…
AVANGERS VS. X-MEN #6, where we see the aftermath of last issue’s stunning reveal. To get people up to speed if they haven’t read that issue, Iron Man used a giant robot in an attempt to destroy the Phoenix Force for good. All it managed to do, however, was splinter the thing into five parts, which proceeded to bond with five of the X-Men that happened to be on the moon. Now Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik, and Namor all function as five Phoenixs instead of Hope being the one.
As you can imagine, they waste no time in abusing their power…by making the world a better place. They make African deserts fertile, build farming domes in the frozen tundra, fresh water treatment systems on the bottom of the sea, massive power plants powered by small stars, and make Utopia physically impossible, with massive floating structures and stuff. They are intent on using their powers to warp reality and “make things better”.
And every ounce of me knows this can only end badly. Cyclops already talks like a freaking god on Earth, so it’s only a matter of time before that absolute power starts corrupting him absolutely.
Which is certainly the point the comic is trying to make here, or rather that this is something many characters – both on the Avengers and X-Men side – fear will happen. But plenty of others think this is totally great and won’t come back to bite them all later. I think the one that astounds me most is Beast, who I would presume would have the worldly experience and knowledge of history to know what happens when people get that much power. I can understand the five themselves not seeing the obvious bad that’s coming, but how can Beast be so blind?
Maybe that’s the point. We need a discourse that argues both sides of the issue here. And I have to say, for what it is, the comic does it very well. I just personally can’t see this ending happily, especially when Hope herself tries to tell Cyclops that the Phoenix Force won’t just stop at making the current world better. It wants the world to burn, so it can start over.
Let’s talk about Cyclops and Hope for a second. Chalking this up to good writing, but Cyclops is acting like an arrogant hypocrite, claiming even at the end of last issue that Hope is needed for the Phoenix yet later taunting her that she isn’t worthy of the power. He says she can leave at any time and that Utopia isn’t a prison, yet later when her leaving becomes a plot point, he doesn’t want it. Yes, the circumstances changed a bit, but we have some fantastic hypocrisy all up in here. And I love it. I love it because things are moving forward by leaps and bounds, and the scale is increased greatly.
Something else worth mentioning is Iron Fist. Seems the Iron Fists of old fought the Phoenix Force and prevented the world’s destruction. And now Danny Rand, the current Iron Fist, is being slowly set up as being important to the conflict to come. As a Defenders fan, this is pretty cool. But then I wonder why this hadn’t been set up earlier in the event. Maybe he ought to have at least shown up here or there over the course of the event, so that when it got to this point it seemed fitting.
Know has been around since the beginning so her involvement makes perfect sense here? The Scarlet Witch. She’s finally doing things (of a spoiler nature), after many issues (including the zero issue) doing almost nothing. It’s nice to see the pieces fall into place.
What I like about this issue is how it’s finally getting the event in gear. The problem with previous issues is how the plot moved slowly and had a lack of weight behind it. But after five issues that could possibly been condensed into three maybe, we’ve got some suspense and gravitas to everything. The plot is picking up speed, and I couldn’t be happier. Now let’s hope this steam can be maintained for the next several issues.